Obesity replies - 2/07

Smartmarriages smartmarriages at lists101.his.com
Wed Feb 14 10:54:23 EST 2007

I am not able to share all replies - will not share those that requested to
remain anonymous and can't send the ones with attachments to the list, and
there are just too many to share them all. So will share a "representative"
sample and then end this thread.  - diane

(In case you missed the original post from the husband complaining about his
wife's obesity:
http://lists101.his.com/pipermail/smartmarriages/2007-February/003292.html )

>> Anyone have anything constructive that might help him?  -  diane

> Diane,
> This is a very good case of an individual with the need for an "attractive
> spouse". One of the 10 basics needs of individuals  according to Dr. Willard
> Harley in his book  "His Needs Her Needs".  I can tell you the BEST thing for
> this couple would be to attend a Dynamic Marriage course! I have seen it work
> time and time again. Let him contact www.familydynamics.org for locations and
> schedules. I facilitate this class in SE WI.
> I could list some things they could do but in a class room setting, with the
> accountability to this course, this couple is better off doing the course for
> long term results. It will allow them both to discover needs and how to meet
> them. 
> Jeff Poplawski
> CornerStone Couples
Yep, me too.  I immediately referred this husband to Dr Harley's website.
Willard Harley, btw, will receive the Smart Marriages Impact Award at the
Denver Conference.  Do not miss his BANQUET keynote: "His Needs, Her Needs"
Fri night June 29.  Also, want to point out the name "CORNERSTONE Couples"
in Jeff's signature. It so perfectly sums it up: "Good marriages form the
foundation - the cornerstone! - for not just kids and families but
communities."  Wish I'd thought of that one. Brilliant. And, I also want to
alert you to a session at the Denver conference that was very well attended
in Atlanta. There is clearly a need for this teach-out-of-the-box/Toob

> 806
> Healthy Marriage Weight Loss Program ­ TOOB
> Aaron Larson
> Certify to present this program that teaches couples how to lose weight and
> strengthen their marriages at the same time.

- diane


> Regarding obesity being the "real cause"...I  just finished writing a  piece
> about that for my forthcoming book.  Although I would certainly  disagree
> that obesity is the "real cause" of divorce, I wish I had a dollar for  each
> time someone in my practice complained that passion faded because one
> spouse felt turned off by the other's weight gain.  If I were  politically
> correct, I would advise these couples that beauty is only skin  deep and
> they should love the person inside.  However, since I'm not  running for
> political office,  I talk about importance of physical  attraction in
> marriage, the importance of taking care of oneself and remaining  fit and
> healthy.  I'm not talking about looking like a model or keeping up  with
> some unrealistic media image,  but caring enough about oneself and  one's
> partner to remain in shape IS important.  (And by the way, the  overweight
> spouse usually is unhappy about the weight gain too!) Now, I know  that
> there are some physical conditions that make staying in shape challenging
> or near impossible, but these cases aren't the rule.
> This guy is bitter and sarcastic and that doesn't become him at all.   But
> don't throw the baby out with the bath water.  He felt abandoned and  hurt.
> Lots of guys feel that way when marriages become  child-centric.  And by the
> way, men don't have a corner on the
> "I'm-not-attracted-to-my-spouse-anymore" market; women lose desire for their
> husbands for the same reason.  They don't like their husbands growing
> paunches or the fact that they've growing breasts. This is such a touchy
> issue,  but one that I believe needs addressing openly and honestly with
> couples whose  lives are impacted by it.
> Michele Weiner-Davis
> DivorceBusting.com

> Dear Diane,
> Something constructive...hmmm.  Perhaps Mr. "One Man's View" might consider
> studying nutritional requirements, then doing the grocery shopping and
> preparing the meals so he can assure his family is eating properly.  Then he
> might consider taking over the household chores, laundry and care of the
> children so his wife can take the time needed to shop for stylish clothes to
> wear on the special date nights that he has planned each week.  He may also
> want to make babysitting arrangements for all the appointments for her hair,
> make-up, fingernails, toenails each week and patiently wait while she then
> bathes and soaks all her worries away every day in the jacuzzi scented in
> sweet (expensive) perfumes.   She will also need time to work out at the gym
> and tanning salon regularly, and she'll need coverage for all those plastic
> surgeon appointments to eliminate those nasty baby scars, breast augmentation
> for those deformed breasts and eventually a face lift (at least once). Plus
> she'll need regular laser hair removal & collegen/botox treatments.   To stay
> a 'woman in the know', somehow she'll need to fit in daily readings of the
> paper, magazines and best-sellers.  To keep her spirits up and her mood
> bouyant, she'll want to chat daily with her many girlfriends--on her cell or
> over lunch at the country club (or both!).  To ensure she is not exhausted,
> she'll definitely need to practice daily meditations in a place of peace and
> quiet, with soft music playing in the background.  Perhaps out by the pool in
> a tropical locale?  Finally, she'll need lots of beauty rest, too, including
> those restorative naps in the afternoons.
> While his wife is busily maintaining "Fantasy Ferrari girl", perhaps he can
> figure out how to juggle the children's schedule of appointments--including
> school, sports, club and church activities, doctors/dentists visits, play
> dates and childhood illnesses.  And last but not least, since's there's no way
> for his wife to maintain a paying job with all the time off work required,
> he'll also need to get a better position at the company.
> Melodie Tucker 

> Some will read this article and immediately move into (and perhaps
> rightfully so) a tirade on how insensitive and boorish this man seems to be.
> In trying to be objective, hear this man's point of view AND be sensitive to
> real life issues his wife is dealing with, I have come to the conclusion
> that this man is both VERY RIGHT and VERY WRONG.
> He is VERY RIGHT in feeling abandoned and betrayed by a wife who is putting
> the kids and her own desires (food) above their marriage.  Every married
> person's FIRST priority is to their spouse and the marriage.  The best thing
> any of us can do for our kids is to work on our marriage and show them a mom
> and dad who are madly, passionately in love.  That means that the children
> have to understand that THEY ARE #2!
> A problem I see in many marriages is that we all want things to be "fair".
> Life isn't fair.  Two examples:  1. Going out to dinner.  In a "fair" world
> a wife would be able to order the same 16 oz New York strip with slathered
> baked potato and chocolate cake that her husband orders.  However, chances
> are her metabolism is not the same as her husbands because of muscle mass
> and other biological issues.  As a result when she does eat as much as her
> husband she will gain weight.  That might not be fair, but it is simple
> physiology. ( I share that example as a man who's physiology isn't fair.my
> wife can eat ANYTHING and not gain weight, I put on five pounds eating a
> rice cake)  Example #2. is that this gentleman needs to INTENTIONALLY make
> time for his wife to focus on her health, her beauty, her feminism by taking
> full responsibility for the kids and assuring her that there is plenty of
> money in the budget to allow her to join a health club, buy a treadmill or
> take walks with her friends.  This leads me to share how this man is VERY
> This man obviously is focused completely on self and his needs, which is
> common in marriage for ALL of us, but certainly not healthy as a lifestyle.
> What this guy needs to understand is that when you get married you SHARE the
> problems of your spouse.  If your wife is obese then your attitude can't be
> SHE has an eating problem, it must be WE have an eating problem that is
> manifest in her weight gain.  As couples we are to work together to solve
> the problems one or both of us face.  If this man would get a sitter, take
> his wife out for a walk or to the park and have a heart to heart about his
> feelings and HERS, then ask how HE could help, then they could start down a
> path toward a healthy resolution to their marriage.
> Jay Laffoon
> www.celebratenet.com
> As for the husband who blames obesity for ruining his marriage, he wanted
> some reactions, so I offer a few (and I am not obese, so not merely
> defensive):
> Look further--what caused the obesity is more likely to trouble your
> marriage than the obesity itself.
> Look at your attitudes.  If you married her primarily for her looks, you can
> be sure she doesn't feel very treasured.  If you keep reminding her of this
> and putting pressure on her, that will not motivate her.  If you don't
> appreciate her good qualities and her service to you (including to the
> children you fathered), you don't deserve a Ferrari.  Think of the loving
> foundation she gave those children--not to mention the money she saved
> you--by not hiring a surrogate to nurture them to term.  And NO woman will
> retain the looks of her 20s, so would you dump her for a newer version when
> she gains a wrinkle or two?
> First, give up the idea that she has to be a Ferrari.  Then, if you want to
> ease her in that direction a little, do it because you love her and want her
> to be healthy and live a long time, not because she owes it to you.  You
> probably aren't the perfect, ideal specimen of manhood, either.  Then see if
> these ideas might help:
> When you come home from work, and she looks like a drudge and has left mess
> and toys everywhere, first give her an empathetic "You must be tired" and a
> hug, then start quietly picking up the mess and toys (with a smile, not
> clenched jaws)--maybe even teaching the kids to help you do it.
> Suggest something she could enjoy doing for herself--a warm bath, a nap,
> time to relax and read--while you wash dishes and/or put the kids to bed.
> Find a time each day that you can take her by the hand and go for a walk
> together.  The exercise will be good for those extra pounds, and the
> endorphins will help her spirits.
> And you might want to hunt for a local CHIP (Coronary Health Improvement
> Project) program, a lifestyle management program that combines reasonable
> cost, scientific basis, and built-in motivation.  Enroll in it together, and
> learn how to live a healthful lifestyle that will benefit the whole family.
> Madeline Johnston


> I appreciate this man's honesty as it gets at a systemic/societal reality
> that all the communication skills in the world will not touch.  Underlying
> the obesity problem is his wife's apparent decision to abandon the
> relationship in favor of the children, a phenomenon also highlighted in the
> previous post about parental homework assistance.  There are enormous social
> rewards for selfless mothers (martyrs) which afflict many women and damage
> intimate relationships.  The media depicts these affected men as selfish and
> irresponsible dopes. A lot of guys, like this one end up feeling manipulated
> into marriage and then pushed aside.  And they have a point.
> The solution is cultural rather than individual but some couples find
> resolution through the direct sharing of grievances.  Something like, "I
> fell in love with a hot, thin girl.  I know you will never be a Penthouse
> Pet again and I don't care.  But I crave that beautiful body, once again."
> It's risky, but if divorce is the alternative then it is worth a shot.
> Asking someone to do something that is also good for them is not hurtful.
> Sometimes, more balanced women can influence these martyrs to find more
> interpersonal balance and care for their own physical health.  Oftentimes it
> takes a dramatic reordering of priorities that people resist until there is
> no other choice.  It may also be that the weight gain is an unconscious way
> for her to avoid sex with her husband whom she really has no time for or has
> lost interest in.  That needs to be expressed openly as well.
> Partners should prioritize each other and one of the ways we do that is
> through taking care of our physical bodies.  We used to call that common
> sense.
> Kevin Kervick, MS, LMFT

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